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Alcohol During Pregnancy

A mother’s alcohol use during pregnancy is one of the top preventable causes of birth defects and developmental disabilities. When you consume alcohol, so does your baby. Alcohol freely passes through the placenta to your baby. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the chances of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are the full spectrum of birth defects that are caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. FASD has no cure, but it can be prevented. There is no known amount of alcohol that is safe to drink while pregnant. There is no time during pregnancy when it is safe to drink. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, her baby does too.

 

How does alcohol affect your baby's development?

One thing is clear, if you are pregnant and take a drink -- a glass of wine, a beer or a cocktail -- your unborn child takes the same drink. Whatever you eat or drink while pregnant goes directly through your bloodstream into the placenta. Your baby is constantly growing and developing throughout these nine months. For the unborn child, the alcohol interferes with his ability to get enough oxygen and nourishment for normal cell development in the brain and other body organs. If you consume an excessive amount of alcohol during these crucial times of development, you may cause problems for your baby. These are lifetime, irreversible effects that can cause physical, mental and neurobehavioral birth defects.

What if I drank alcohol before I knew I was pregnant?

If you were not aware that you were pregnant and drank alcohol, the best thing you can do now is STOP drinking. The sooner you quit, the better. If you're pregnant and find yourself unable to stop drinking, don't be ashamed to talk with your obstetrician. She can recommend ways for you to find the help and support you need to stop drinking for your sake, and for your precious baby's sake.

How many drinks are safe in Pregnancy?

It used to be believed that drinking moderate amounts (a drink a day) was relatively safe. But it's only recently been discovered that children of women who drank during pregnancy — even those who had as little as one drink a day — were experiencing developmental problems throughout their childhood and even into adolescence.

The message is clear: Pregnant women should not be drinking at all. If you're pregnant and find yourself unable to stop drinking, don't be ashamed to talk with your obstetrician. She can recommend ways for you to find the help and support you need to stop drinking for your sake, and for your precious baby's sake.

 

   
Learn about the changes taking place in mother's body and the growing baby.
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Week 13-16 Week 17-20
Week 21-24 Week 25-28
Week 29-32 Week 33-36
Understand how pregnancy can impact your lifestyle.
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- contributed by Early Childhood Australia


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